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Proceedings Paper

Thermoelectric bolometers based on silicon membranes
Author(s): Aapo Varpula; Andrey V. Timofeev; Andrey Shchepetov; Kestutis Grigoras; Jouni Ahopelto; Mika Prunnila
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Paper Abstract

State-of-the-art high performance IR sensing and imaging systems utilize highly expensive photodetector technology, which requires exotic and toxic materials and cooling. Cost-effective alternatives, uncooled bolometer detectors, are widely used in commercial long-wave IR (LWIR) systems. Compared to the cooled detectors they are much slower and have approximately an order of magnitude lower detectivity in the LWIR. We present uncooled bolometer technology which is foreseen to be capable of narrowing the gap between the cooled and uncooled technologies. The proposed technology is based on ultra-thin silicon membranes, the thermal conductivity and electrical properties of which can be controlled by membrane thickness and doping, respectively. The thermal signal is transduced into electric voltage using thermocouple consisting of highly-doped n and p type Si beams. Reducing the thickness of the Si membrane improves the performance (i.e. sensitivity and speed) as thermal conductivity and thermal mass of Si membrane decreases with decreasing thickness. Based on experimental data we estimate the performance of these uncooled thermoelectric bolometers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 May 2017
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 10246, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VIII, 102460L (30 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2266554
Show Author Affiliations
Aapo Varpula, VTT Technical Research Ctr. of Finland Ltd. (Finland)
Andrey V. Timofeev, VTT Technical Research Ctr. of Finland Ltd. (Finland)
Andrey Shchepetov, VTT Technical Research Ctr. of Finland Ltd. (Finland)
Kestutis Grigoras, VTT Technical Research Ctr. of Finland Ltd. (Finland)
Jouni Ahopelto, VTT Technical Research Ctr. of Finland Ltd. (Finland)
Mika Prunnila, VTT Technical Research Ctr. of Finland Ltd. (Finland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10246:
Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VIII
Luis Fonseca; Mika Prunnila; Erwin Peiner, Editor(s)

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